QBO’s tacky, silly April Fool’s 2024

QBO is here with our annual April Public Service Announcement: Your dignified old ancestors were relentless (and often tasteless) pranksters! From past QBO sales…

Exhibit A: this ridiculous “Bald Guy” comb made in the 1950s for the obnoxious buddies of bald guys to give their follicle-challenged pals. And this adorable yet disturbing “Gum Parker”. If you liked chewing gum but were also super-cheap, you could park your used gum on the tummy of this tiny cat and come back later to chew it again. Ew! They were exported by several Japanese companies in the 1950s and 60s. There are brass and cast iron versions, but most are ceramic, some hollow, some solid. Most specify “Gum Parker” but some are blank, assuming you’ll just know. And they all have weird faces! Not a gum re-chewer? Kitty can hold your damp teabag!

Exhibit B: this handy Electro-Hammer with power cord, on/off switch and indicator lights. Of course it does not work, but somebody had fun making it to display it in their workshop.

EXHIBIT C: Protest Cocktail Mixers from the 1960s, thankfully still in original packaging because the hippies, housewives and businessmen are half the joke. For our younger readers, pre-internet everyone’s names and phone numbers were listed in a single free publication, “the Yellow Pages” which was published by the only phone company in existence, Bell Telephone. The huge paperback was snail-mailed to your home annually. It was divided in two alphabetical sections, individuals and businesses. During this time, Civil Rights marches to abolish segregation so that everyone, regardless of race, could benefit from the same services were also taking place, so this swizzle is also an edgy political statement, although in which direction is up to you. Thankfully, “Booze Nut” ogling moonshine jug doesn’t need a lengthy explanation.

EXHIBIT D: There have been a surprising number of Roadkill Cafes over the years in states like Utah, Arizona, Missouri, Alabama and Oregon, shedding souvenirs on bored, hungry travelers. This ‘Menu’ is printed on a rabbit pelt and offerings include Corvair Bear, Sunbaked Snake, Amtrak Elk, Centerline Bovine, Toad Ala Road, Smidgen of Pigeon, Swirl of Squirrel, and Chunk of Skunk. The Oregon Trail Store and Deli in Meacham informally bills itself as a Roadside Cafe and posts a version of this menu, but sadly they do not actually serve roadkill, even though by the 2017 Oregon Senate Bill 372, it is now legal to salvage roadkill deer and elk for food.

EXHIBIT E: Slug Chowder! Both Manhattan and New England style, although if you check the nutritional information on the back you’ll see it contains 0 calories, so what’s sloshing around in the cans is just water. Dang. So are PNW slugs edible? Well, they are related to mollusks such as clams (the traditional chowder ingredient) and historically local tribes harvested them as food, but slugs can carry a parasite dangerous to humans, so never swallow a raw one on a dare!

EXHIBIT F: This pair of Not Safe for Work ceramic frogs that have been ‘sanitized’ for this email. In real life they are, uh, explicit; flip them over and you’ll find that they’re “anatomically correct”. Only of course they are not! Frogs don’t have human-style privates, so these naughty amphibians are anatomically INCORRECT in the extreme! But they’re good for a bawdy laugh lurking in your potted plants! Hope you all had a day of pranks yesterday; we’ll see you soon.